Pakistan at 141st position in global competitiveness report

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Tuesday asked the government to focus on reforming export sector as too much emphasis on getting trade relaxations from other countries and blocks has proved counterproductive.

Government avoided reforming external sector to get trade benefits which has taken toll on economy, it said. Reforms should be initiated by empowering commerce ministry and meaningful changes in all attach as well as subordinate departments, said Dr Murtaza Mughal, President PEW, in a statement.

He said that country could only hardly manage exports worth $24 billion during 2014-15 while other countries relying on textile managed well. Bangladesh exports stood at 31 billion dollars while Vietnam exports remained dollar 97 billion.

Pakistan exports dwindled 2.6 percent as compared to 2011-12 and 2.2 percent in comparison with 2013 while it shrank by 4.8 percent as compared to 2014.

Dr. Mughal said that scarcity of energy, tax incentives and loans have been identified as major irritants while culture of mini budgets, SROs, and blocked refunds had also damaged the external sector, pushing Pakistan to 141st position in Global Competitiveness Report which ranked 144 countries.

Imports are easy in Pakistan as compared to exports as imports take 18 days while exports take 21 days, according to World Bank.

Dr Mughal said that country’s trade within Saarc region and with the OIC is unsatisfactory which can be improved by opening more trade points at borders with Iran, Afghanistan and India.

Government should also facilitate exports by reducing energy tariff, simplify procedure to acquire licences and permits, allocate proper funds for implementation of trade policy and reduce human involvement in the tax system.

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